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It’s back to school time for many children and back to the classroom after over a year at home, and with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty of how 2021 will shake out, and there is one product that can help jump-start things on the right note – a weighted blanket.

Before I became a sleep coach for toddlers and school-aged children, I had really only ever heard about weighted blankets for children on the autism spectrum,, something I speak about on my Podcast the Kids Sleep Show in this episode. I was aware that the deep pressure that weighted blankets or vests bring through a firm tactile input is organizing and calming vs. light touch, which is typically alerting and can also be stimulating to children with a sensory processing disorder. The market now for weighted blankets now is popular across all ages, young and old, for the benefits that they provide to children who with to capture better sleep.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket for your child?

Using a weighted blanket can put your ANS {autonomic nervous system} into rest mode, reducing anxiety symptoms, while providing an overall sense of calm to children. Research has shown that weighted blankets also support these other areas, creating the balance and rest our bodies need to recover. 

Promoting Sleep in Children & Adults

Through a balanced weight across the body, weighted blankets can help release serotonin {mood boosting hormone} and decreases nervous system activity, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In addition, the weight can also help to provide a sense of calm, slowing your heart rate and breathing, so they can wind down enough to get the sleep they need to wake feeling refreshed and balanced for the day.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

About 40 million people in America live with some form of anxiety, which has seen a spike with the recent global pandemic and added stress.  Stress can escalate cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels, can cause multiple complications. These include depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and more. Aside from the sense of calm the blanket brings to your nervous system, it may help your body release oxytocin, which may improve your immune system response, ease pain and stress, and help you sleep.

Balance Children with ADHD

Weighted blankets can help children who are diagnosed with ADHD and have trouble with focus. In a study completed by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2014, children with ADHD showed improvements in attention span, speed of processing and responding, and much less fidgeting. They can be helpful to just drape across their legs while remote learning and when resting for bedtime or quiet-time winding down, reading.

How Do You Choose the Right Weighted Blanket for Yourself or Your Child?

Most people prefer a weighted blanket equivalent to about 10% of their body weight, but for children 3 years old and up, it’s best to consult with a pediatrician to determine the ideal weight for your child.  Weighted blankets are sold in weights ranging from 2 pounds to 25 pounds.

What Weighted Blanket Do I Recommend for Toddlers, Adolescents and Adults?

There are many options on the market today for weighted blankets and I have personal experience with two companies, to those are the two I will talk about. 

Dreamland Baby for Toddlers & School Age Children

Dreamland Baby Co. has designed a small, amazingly comfortable, dual-sided weighted blanket, based on the time of year, and for use is children ages 3 and up. They also have weighted swaddles and sleep sacks, which I also love, but don’t cover today in this blog. My kids love it because it’s balanced weight {4 LBS} and they can use it in the car when we travel and at home to sleep. It’s the perfect size for both my 5 & 7 year old and even great for me, working from home, as I drape it across my legs.  

Purple for Adults

I love the weight of this blanket and how impactful it has been on our family and sleep. With 35 LBS of weight across our King size Purple® bed, it’s heavy – but balanced in weight distribution. Plus, I love that I can use it year-round, and pick the side that’s most comfortable for the temperature. 

 

While a weighted blanket can help calm your body and prepare it for sleep, it’s important to also ensure that your toddler or child is also preparing for sleep with a good bedtime routine, using tools like meditation as a part of that process. Sending children to sleep with positive thoughts, like asking them to think about something tomorrow they are going to do, and following up in the morning with the ask for their answer is a great way to send them to slumber with a positive vs. scary thought.

Below is an image I made that I use with my private sleep consulting clients. I ask children to draw something during the day, and at bedtime have them tell you the story about it. Give this a try with your child tonight and leave the rest to us! 

Courtney Zentz, Founder of Tiny Transitions Sleep Consulting, is on a mission to change the way the world views sleep and provide accessible sleep coaching resources for all families to build healthy sleep habits in their homes for children of all ages.

As a multi-award-winning speaker, author, and Pediatric Sleep Expert, Courtney works intimately with families from around the world to teach healthy sleep habits to children and adults. She helps her clients see that being tired is not a badge of honor but that sleep is the foundation for which the house is built.

Courtney is a frequent contributor to MindBodyGreen, Purple®, NBC, Fatherly, Yahoo, Thrive Global, Romper, Parentology, Create & Cultivate, and Bustle, among other media outlets and parenting blogs. Courtney hosts The Kids Sleep Show, a Podcast geared towards solving sleep struggles in children outside of Philadelphia PA, with her husband Adam and two children, Max and Sovella, and has always felt passionate about making sleep & healthy living a priority in her family’s life.

Her team, the Slumber Squad, made up of trained Certified Sleep Consultants support families globally and also have in-person support available in Des Moines, IA, Scottsdale, AZ, Paducah, KY, Dallas, TX, Scottsdale, AZ, St. Louis, MO, Dallas, TX, Austin, TX, Tampa, FL, Nashville, TN, Huntsville, AL, NY Metro, New Jersey Metro, Philadelphia and support clients in English and Spanish.

*This post might contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated on any purchases. Don’t worry, I only recommend things I use personally in my home or my business.